I helped someone steal my idea this weekend. I could have walked away and been rude when she started asking questions, but I was proud of my work and showing it off. I did tell her that I’d be publishing a tutorial of the design so others would be able to buy it and make it, but I knew even as I said that she wasn’t listening. She was stealing for all she was worth, and yet… If I had accused her of theft, she would have loudly and earnestly denied it. She certainly doesn’t think she is a thief, but she is, just as much as if she’d snatched the little dragon I was showing her and ran away with it. More, actually, because she plans to steal my design and make them to sell herself. If you’re at a con and see a vendor selling chainmaille dragons like these, please ask who made them. If it wasn’t me or someone working from my tutorial, they were made with stolen knowledge.
I was talking to a vendor at a convention, and I had been making my Baby Dragons for something to keep my hands busy. She saw it, asked to see it, and started asking me questions about where my supplies I used came from. I didn’t think anything of it until we’d been talking for a couple of minutes and she started writing down what we were talking about. I should have said something, and walked away, but I didn’t. My fault.
I’d created the Baby Dragons for people who were taking part in our wedding. Since then, people have been asking me to make more and sell them, they loved the little metal dragons I’d created. I had finally decided I would make some, and create a PDF tutorial to sell since I don’t have the time or the inclination to mass produce them. I’ve been contacted by an honorable vendor who wants to sell them for me, and I will put some here on the website. And there are always going to be people who will steal a design, copy it, and pass it off as their own without a thought for the creator.
I don’t want to become cynical. I want to trust people, to be able to sell or show off my work without thinking that the person telling me how great it was, was planning to rip me off. I think most artists know better, though. Some people will just never pay for what they want. It’s easier to steal it.